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Rollins v. Goodwin

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

October 29, 2018


         SECTION P




         Petitioner Larry Rollins, a prisoner in the custody of Louisiana&#3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">39;s Department of Corrections proceeding pro se, filed the instant Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on September 17, 2018, under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He attacks his attempted second degree murder conviction, as well as the thirty-year sentence imposed by the Fourth Judicial District Court, Parish of Ouachita.[1" name="FN1" id= "FN1">1] For the following reasons, it is recommended that the Petition be dismissed.


         On May 2, 2016, Petitioner pled guilty to attempted second degree murder. [doc. #s 1, p. 1; 1-3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3, pp. 6-8]. The same day, the trial judge sentenced Petitioner to thirty years of imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. [doc. # 1-3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3, p. 8]. Petitioner did not appeal his conviction or sentence.[2] [doc. # 1, p. 1].

         Petitioner filed an application for post-conviction relief before the Fourth Judicial District Court, claiming: (1) his guilty plea was invalid because the trial judge and the State misinformed him that, if he pled guilty, the State would not charge him for murder even if the victim eventually died from the wound allegedly caused by Petitioner; and (2) his trial counsel was ineffective because counsel failed to advise Petitioner that the trial judge and the State misinformed him. [doc. #s 1, pp. 6-7; 1-3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3, p. 3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3]. On October 14, 2016, the Fourth Judicial District Court denied the petition on the merits. [doc. # 1-3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3, p. 3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3]. On April 5, 2017, the Second Circuit Court of Appeal denied Petitioner&#3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">39;s writ application “on the showing made[, ]” citing Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). Id. at 2. Notably, on August 3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3, 2018, the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana declined to consider Petitioner&#3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">39;s writ because it was untimely under La. Sup. Ct. R. X § 5. Id. at 1.

         Petitioner filed the instant Petition on September 17, 2018, raising the same claims he raised (or attempted to raise) before the state courts on post-conviction review. [doc. # 1, pp. 5, 7].

         Law and Analysis

         The Court cannot consider Petitioner&#3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">39;s claims because he failed to properly present them to the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana for review prior to filing the instant Petition. “An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted unless it appears that the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A). The Fifth Circuit explained exhaustion as follows:

The exhaustion requirement is satisfied when the substance of the federal claim is fairly presented to the highest state court on direct appeal or in state post-conviction proceedings, even if the state court fails to address the federal claim, or, if the federal claim is not fairly presented but the state court addresses it sua sponte. A claim is fairly presented when the petitioner asserts the claim in terms so particular as to call to mind a specific right protected by the Constitution or alleges a pattern of facts that is well within the mainstream of constitutional litigation. It is not enough that all the facts necessary to support the federal claim were before the state courts or that a somewhat similar state-law claim was made. Rather, the petitioner must afford the state court a fair opportunity to apply controlling legal principles to the facts bearing upon his constitutional claim.

Johnson v. Cain, 12 F.3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3d 227');">712 F.3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3d 227, 23');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">31 (5th Cir. 2013');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3) (internal quotations marks and citations omitted). “State prisoners must give the state courts one full opportunity to resolve any constitutional issues by invoking one complete round of the State&#3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">39;s established appellate review process.” O&#3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">39;Sullivan v. Boerckel, 3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">38');">526 U.S. 83');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">38, 845 (1999). This means that a petitioner must present his claims to each appropriate state court. Baldwin v. Reese, 1 U.S. 27');">541 U.S. 27, 29 (2004).

         Here, Petitioner did not appeal his claims, and when he attempted to present them to the Louisiana Supreme Court on collateral review, the court found the claims untimely under LA. Sup. Ct. R. X § 5.[3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3" name="FN3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3" id= "FN3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3] [doc. # 1-3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3, p. 1]. As he did not properly present his claims to the State&#3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">39;s highest court, the claims remain unexhausted. See Dupuy v. Butler, 83');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">37 F.2d 699, 702 (5th Cir. 1988) (observing that, to give a state court “a fair opportunity” to review a claim, the petitioner must present his claims in a “procedurally proper manner according to the rules of the state courts.”); Castille v. Peoples, 489 U.S. 3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">346, 3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">351 (1989) (holding that, when a petitioner has raised a claim in a procedural context “in which its merits will not be considered, ” he has not “fairly presented” the claim to the state courts and, accordingly, has not satisfied the exhaustion doctrine).

         However, “A habeas petitioner who has defaulted his federal claims in state court meets the technical requirements for exhaustion; there are no state remedies any longer ‘available&#3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">39; to him.” Coleman v. Thompson, 1 U.S. 722');">501 U.S. 722, 73');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">3');">32 (1991). Here, because La. Sup. Ct. R. X § 5 would prevent Petitioner from returning to the Louisiana Supreme Court and exhausting his claims, his claims are “technically” exhausted.[4] See Johnson v. Deville, 2010 WL 2628640, at *6 (M.D. La. May 4, 2010), report and recommendation adopted, 2010 WL 2640166 (M.D. La. June 28, 2010) (reasoning that the Louisiana Supreme Court would not allow a petitioner to resurrect claims that he failed to timely present before because ...

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